Boatman

    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • Italy, United States
    • 1993
    • 57 min
    • Retrospective: Gianfranco Rosi

    This travelogue centering on a boat trip along India’s sacred Ganges River, shows India at its most colorful, even though the film was shot in black and white. Gopal is the ferryman rowing Italian director Gianfranco Rosi past bathing locals, sightseers on boat tours, ritual water burials, cremations, and people searching the water for items of jewelry that belonged to the deceased. This is the Ganges as the epicenter of India, a place where chaos, surrealism, rituals, life, and death converge.

    Major themes such as religion and politics emerge in an almost casual way in short, pithy portraits where tourists and local inhabitants share their thoughts. The subject of the caste system also comes up: despite a myth that champions the occupation of ferryman, this job still rates relatively low in the pecking order.

    Confrontational scenes of corpses floating in the water punctuate the lighter anecdotal stories—we learn from an Italian immigrant that the spaghetti here tastes really different. Despite a running time of less than an hour, this aesthetic trip along Mother Ganges and the stories of its admirers manages to evoke the atmosphere and culture of an entire nation.

    Credits

    • 57 min
    • black and white
    • DCP
    • Spoken languages: English, Hindi
    • Subtitles in: English
    Director
    Gianfranco Rosi
    Production
    Gianfranco Rosi
    Cinematography
    Gianfranco Rosi
    Editing
    Jacopo Quadri
    Sound
    Gianfranco Rosi

    IDFA history

    2020
    Screened
    Retrospective: Gianfranco Rosi
    1993
    Screened

    Share this film

    Print this page

    IDFA history

    This website uses cookies.

    By using cookies we can measure how our site is used, how it can be further improved and to personalize the content of online advertisements.

    Read
     here everything about our cookie policy. If you choose to decline, we only place functional and analytical cookies